Yes, Elliott Moore and Ben Braham know they said Besk would open a year ago. Yes, they also wish their ambitious 200-person bar, bottle shop, restaurant and cafe was already serving the West Leederville community. And yes, the duo assures us the wait will be worth it when Besk opens later this year.
“We’re not trying to build and sell,” says Braham about having to push out the venue’s opening date. “We plan to be here for a very long time.”
One of the key reasons for the delay is the space itself. As Moore and Braham – owners of Mane Liquor and Braham Architects respectively – began work on transforming the site on busy Railway Terrace they unearthed beautiful old patinas and surfaces they wanted to retain. Old concrete in the basement has been recycled into new rammed-concrete walls. Changes to building plans need a stamp of approval from council, hence the delays.
Changes to the area have also influenced the project’s direction. Where before the duo had plans to open a craft-beer and natural-wine hotspot, now they’re taking a broader approach.
“I really like the idea of a West Leederville local that can service everyone with coffee in the morning through to drinks in the evening,” says Moore, who cites Andrew McConnell’s Fitzroy, Melbourne, pub The Builders Arms Hotel as an example of a space that gets the balance right. “We want to make it a really relaxed venue you can go midweek and grab a meal and a glass of wine and not have to worry if it’s going to be expensive, or if it’s okay to wear your shorts and thongs.”
Not that there won’t be plenty of niche alcohol for beer and wine geeks. Craft beer collaborations have already been lined up, and Jo Perry from Dormilona will still be producing the house wines. Small producers will also drive the kitchen; seasonal, farmer-driven cooking will be the focus of the menu. Considering Besk is two doors down from Mary Street Bakery and Myrtle Ivy, there are no plans to enter the breakfast space, but Moore wants to apply the same rigorous focus to the venue’s coffee that he does to its beer and wine.
When Broadsheet visits, construction workers in hi-vis are busily preparing the space, and off-site construction of building elements also under way. All things considered, Besk should open by June: so long as the owners are happy.
“If it takes us another year, or however long, we’re going to take it to make sure we get it right,” says Braham.
Besk is due to open mid-year.